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Chapter 63 – King of the Underground (14) “I can’t take this anymore!” The girl beside Cohen screamed in distress. Scarlett’s eyes were filled with a little doubt at the scene unfolding before her.
Kodan did not retreat but pressed his attacks even harder. Grinding steel formally met for the first time as his sword violently crashed against Varian’s warhammer. Metallic screams and fiery sparks flew around them, and everyone narrowed their eyes and covered their ears. Very quickly, the youths were shocked and excited to find that Kodan had knocked away Varian’s weapons with brutish strength. They thought it did not make sense that a heavy hammer in an overhead swing would be knocked away by a longsword. Brendel’s heart jolted. He had suspected Kodan was hiding his true strength to lure the dwarf to compete in strength. But what truly shocked him was Kodan’s following attack. Only Medissa and he saw a blue streak of light shine on the old man’s finger. [Wind bullet!? Even though these fake rings could be found anywhere it’s too much of a coincidence, right?] Brendel subconsciously looked at the Ring of the Wind Empress on his thumb. He lost sight of the battle and missed Kodan closing in with an open palm. The old man lifted away Varian’s helmet and thrust his sword into the dwarf’s throat. When Brendel looked at the scene again, Varian had already disappeared in a flash of white light. However, Kodan did not go uninjured. In order to succeed running through the dwarf with his sword, he had to suffer a punch from the latter. Varian’s gloves were full of metallic edges. Not only did his punch damaged Kodan’s lungs, but it also ripped off the latter’s muscles and broke several ribs. The old man’s body was finally at its limits and he could no longer hold on. He dug his sword into the ground and had to pant for a long while before he stood up straight again. “Well done, mortal. You are allowed to select one of the cages and free the people in it, if you wish.” The mysterious voice boomed from the surroundings. “I can only open one of your cages,” The old man huffed as he raised his voice to the group of youths, and he pointed at Jocah’s cage, “Jocah and the others in your cage. Get out. I want to hear how you involved in this mess later on.” The people in Jocah’s cage were silent as the door swung open. The youths were separated into two groups and caught at different timings. It seemed like Kodan only rescued them in order to investigate the cause of this situation, and he did not intend to take on another challenge. But everyone also knew that the old man no longer had the capability of continuing to do so. Although Maher and Cohen frequently quarreled with each other, the youths had a tight bond. They felt that it was difficult to accept this decision and simply stood there in confusion. However, they ultimately knew they were powerless against their fate. “All of you should get out of the cage first. There’s no telling if the door will close again.” Cohen’s face did not show any signs of panic. “But—” Jocah said. “It’s good that at least some of us escaped. I’ll try to think of a solution for the rest.” “What solution do you have?” “None yet.” Kodan did not pay attention to the youths any longer. He had seen Jocah and Maher before but recognized the group as a bunch of irresponsible scoundrels in the town, and simply did not think highly of them. “Mortal, do you wish to continue challenging your destiny?” The voice rumbled again. “No!” The old man refused the challenge and limped off the stage, while he shouted at Brendel: “The boy from Torbus’s family, what do you think?” Brendel merely shrugged in response. Kodan tossed his weapon over to him: “Take this. I’ll lend you this sword since it’s your turn. Let me see how good the stubborn fool’s descendent is!” He took a closer look at Brendel as he limped past the latter and muttered: “……. His son?” He shook his head quickly: “But you look like you’re just twenty years old, so a grandson then. You actually became a Gold-ranked swordsman at your age. From this point alone, you’re no less talented than that bastard is. A lion’s cub is still a lion.” The old man sighed, seemingly lamenting over the fact that he did not have a successor. Brendel nearly dropped the sword he received. [Hold on! Is grandfather a Gold-ranked swordsman at my age? Doesn’t this mean he’s a Blessed if he reached the Gold-ranked status at the age of twenty?] The information was a little unacceptable to him. It was an incredible thing for someone to become a Gold-ranked swordsman at twenty. Brendel rubbed his forehead. The former Brendel had never asked about the origin of his grandfather, but in his memories, his grandfather was someone who moved to Bruglas at some point in his life. Later on, his grandfather bought a plot of land in Bucce and built a mill on the outskirts of Bruglas. Even though the former Brendel was born with nothing much, he lived a life of considerable comfort. Otherwise, an ordinary youth would have to find work or become an apprentice after militia training, and he would not have lived alone in Bucce without worrying about money. [Come to think of it, grandmother did not seem like a commoner’s daughter. She knew many things about the kingdom and was literate. But my mother definitely came from a noble’s family. I’ve wondered why a noble would marry a commoner for a while now. No matter how wealthy he is, the union of different social circles has a strong stigma.] Brendel searched through the former soul’s memories but eventually realized that the latter had never bothered finding out about his family’s status. He frowned a little and asked Kodan: “You know him?” “I’ve been with that stubborn fellow for a period of time. I was just as young as you are when I met him. I had just left my hometown, and even though I come from a family of knights, I was really just a wild brat. But your grandfather graduated from an academy of knights meant for nobles, and he was the real deal. I’m not afraid of being laughed at, but I was his subordinate for a while—” Kodan wanted to continue speaking, but the voice above them interrupted loudly: “The next challenger!” Kodan eyed the sky. Brendel put away his thoughts as well. He had an eidetic memory and met all kinds of people in the game, but there were only so many people that he kept in his mind after decades— He felt that the relationship between Kodan and his grandfather was not as simple as he claimed. Especially when he looked at Kodan’s ring which was identical to his own. [I did wonder why a commoner would have the Ring of the Wind Empress, even if it’s just a replica. When I asked the cripple in Bruglas, he claimed that it was a knight who gave the oil painting to my grandfather…… Well, these questions can be asked later. As long as this old man is my hands, there are plenty of chances. It seems like my grandfather has a colorful history.] “Let’s go, Medissa.” He said in his mind. “Understood, my lord.” Both of them walked to the stage at the same time. Cohen’s face stiffened when he saw both of them enter the stage. Kodan looked puzzledly at them and called out to them from behind: “You’re going together?” But Brendel and Medissa did not answer as they became focused. The two walked up to the center of the stage and waited quietly. Kodan suddenly realized that the Element power the Elven girl used was Soul Energy. And yet there was only a single existence that would use Soul Energy as their Element Power. [Undead!] The grandmaster swordsman realized why Medissa went after him instead of seeking cover. There was no need for her to fear death. The second word that came to him was ‘necromancer’, but it was obviously an incorrect answer. [A Gold-ranked Necromancer can’t summon an undead with the same strength. And that boy’s eyes did not have any flecks of purple or green in them. Wait, didn’t the girl say that she fought in the War of the Holy Saints?] “A Heroic Spirit!” Kodan suddenly muttered to himself in astonishment. [Is the boy an apprenticing Sacred Knight of Flames from the Cathedral of Fire?] Kodan’s thoughts went to the strongest force in the Cathedral of Fire. They were amongst the strongest forces in the continent, and every Sacred Knight of Flames was accompanied by a Heroic Spirit from the War of the Holy Saints. In the History of Blue, King Gatel had two hundred and thirty-two knights, and there were never more than two hundred Sacred Knights of Flames. [What am I thinking….. There were no Silver Elves in amongst King Gatel’s knights.] But he corrected himself again, He continued to wonder in confusion. “…… It’s all over.” Jocah suddenly sighed. “Shut up, Jocah. What do you mean it’s all over? The battle hasn’t started.” Maher tutted unhappily at his comrade’s words. “Have you forgotten?” He looked back sadly at him. “Cohen asked the announcer questions earlier, and people who are stronger than Iron-rankers will not be allowed to enter the stage together. What do you think this means when these both of them entered together?” Maher’s words disappeared in his mind. This meant that Brendel and the girl was someone without any abilities! The youths who were freed glanced at the other caged youths. Cohen’s expressions were blank, but the others were dyed with despair. “Damn it, I didn’t think this bastard was this useless!” Maher quickly puffed with anger: “He only looks like he’s strong on the surface. To think that I actually believed that he’s a capable fighter!” “Didn’t you constantly say that you didn’t think he’s any good?” One of the youths said, and naturally received Maher’s furious glare. TL: Since this is infrequently brought up, I’m going to have a refresher course on ‘talentz’ again. I had to spend hours searching on this to make sure I’m not (that) wrong, sigh. Might have mistakes in the way early chapters -_-. Blessed – People who are highly gifted but isn’t ‘chosen’ by the gods. Reaches high levels of skillz. Tirste, a guy who belongs to the Unifying Guild, is a Blessed (Gold-ranked swordsman who hasn’t unsealed his Element Power), and had kicked Brendel’s butt. Eke is also in this category. Chosen – People who are favored by the gods. They typically have significant flaws in their body. The exception to this is the King of Fire, Gatel. Can happen anytime and have a sudden increase of powerz. I think Yula is the only Chosen mentioned in Brendel’s era till now. I’m not sure if I TLed Sifrid as a Blessed or Chosen, but Chosen is most likely wrong.